Columbian Exchange 1492 Analysis

The year of 1492 revolutionized the European world, beginning with the approval of Columbus’ proposal for finding a new trade route by spanish monarchs Isabella I and Ferdinand II. However, this voyage did not fulfill its initial goal. Instead, the adventure led to the discovery of the “New World,” and the commencement of a race between European nations for wealth and power. As the hopes of wealth and new beginnings influenced the European explorers, the explorers set out to claim their lands in North and South America. This mass subjugation guaranteed the contact between the novel explorers and the native peoples of the Americas. Upon contact between the Europeans and Native Americans, Europeans gained economic and religious prosperity …show more content…
Consequent to the premier contact with the Aztecs in 1519, Sepulveda, a Spanish scholar, described the natives as “half humans,” that follow “barbaric institutions and customs,” and are in desperate need of assistance by the “Christians, cultivators of human virtues.” Sepulveda goes further to establish the supremacy of the Spanish by divulging that the Aztec people “waged continual and ferocious war,” and “sated their monstrous hunger with the flesh of their enemies” (Sepulveda). This establishment of European superiority over the Aztecs justified the conversion to Catholicism, as the Aztec people viewed the Spaniards as all powerful beings. In 1521, the Spaniards razed and ransacked the Aztec capital Tenochtitlán, which paved the way for Catholic missionaries and their constructions of new catholic churches. This magnitude of destruction allowed the missionaries to show the “barbaric” Aztecs their unscrupulous ways and lead them to “correct their sins” (Las Casas) by giving them the gift of Christianity. Obligatory conversions were also brought upon the Native Americans of North America, as a similar situation happened nearly a century later in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The first settlements of the bay colony by the …show more content…
Although the Europeans were able to obtain such beneficial gains, they did so at the cost of harming a once prosperous group of people: the natives. These American tribes went through an unwanted, mandatory conversion to Catholicism, which led to the loss of their previous virtues and culture. The European settlers also established new economic systems that were based on self-gain, a concept foreign to the American indigenous people. Furthermore, although the natives were knowledgeable about a variety of diseases and their cures, the New World explorers brought upon a new set of maladies that the natives were unprepared for, thus decimating their population and making them comply to the European demands. The effect of this contact is still present in societies of modern America, as the current economic system is centered upon self-profit and the majority of the American population practices Christianity. Most direct of all, the previous decimation of Native American tribes has had a devastating social and mental effect, leaving the current population of Native Americans to be poor and

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